Reduce Worry by Living in ‘Day-tight Compartments’

May 27, 2011

One of Dale Carnegie’s principles for overcoming worry is to live in “day-tight compartments.”  This term was first coined by Sir William Osler when he encountered this life-changing quote from Thomas Carlisle, “It is not our goal to see what lies dimly in the distance but to do what clearly lies at hand.”

Rather than look to the past or more than 24 hours ahead of the present Sir Osler focused the tasks at hand.  Often times, our thoughts are dominated by regrets and mistakes of the past, or anxiety about upcoming events.  We are unable to perform what needs must be done at the moment because we are trapped in the past or future.  Dale Carnegie said, “If you want to avoid worry, do what Sir William Osler did: Live in “day-tight compartments.” Don’t stew about the futures. Just live each day until bedtime.”

For example, if you were in a minor car accident on the way to work which made you late and frustrated, it would be challenging to start your day as you normally would.  Chances are you would relive each step of the accident and contemplate a variety of scenarios which would have rendered a better result.  Perhaps you have to give a presentation to a large group of clients or employees on a topic about which you are not very familiar the day after tomorrow.  If you haven’t carved out time and actually prepared for it, chances are it will be difficult to accomplish anything not related to the presentation.  You must, however, let go and train your brain to focus on the tasks at hand.

By living in “day-tight compartments” we can hone all of our energy, motivation and skills into promptly accomplishing tasks while utilizing our abilities optimally.  If you are overwhelmed with worry and simply cannot concentrate because of anxiety, try this strategy from Dale Carnegie:

  1. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”
  2. Prepare to accept the worst.
  3. Try to improve on the worst.
  4. Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health.

There are a variety of worry reduction strategies taught in the Dale Carnegie Course: Effective Communications & Human Relations/Skills For Success.  By taking the course, you’ll be better equipped to perform as a persuasive communicator, problem-solver and focused leader…since you will have overcome your worries among other challenges.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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5 Responses to Reduce Worry by Living in ‘Day-tight Compartments’

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